In my last post, I explained Why Your Organization Needs a BIPOC Mentorship Program. We covered how a more diverse leadership team is a stronger team and how organizations who hire outside of the old-boys’ network will attract a larger pool of young, talented, highly-qualified candidates. So now, let’s talk about your workplace reaping the rewards of mentoring your young BIPOC staff.
Diversity in the C-Suite
Many BIPOC leaders feel the need to cover at work, wearing an imaginary mask to hide their identity. A report by the Center for Women Policy in the U.S. revealed that nearly 21 percent of women of colour believe that they cannot be themselves at work. Fully 44 percent reported that they tone down their ethnicity and race so they can get more recognition and appreciation at work.
This means that a lot of mental and creative energy is being diverted into covering at work to “fit in.” People of colour feel they have to hide behind a protective mask rather than focusing on really developing into being the best version of themselves. What if that same energy was channelled into work instead of self-protection and survival? What would the results look like?
An organization wins when BIPOC leaders are encouraged to be themselves. These leaders are empowered to focus on what they can contribute at work, truly show up, lead conversations, persevere through adversity, and showcase their best efforts – instead of feeling pressured to “fit in” and quietly take a back seat.
BIPOC Mentorship Improves the Bottom Line
Longer-term, once the BIPOC mentees become better established and start to mentor future BIPOC mentees, they can offer invaluable advice and guidance to mentees from their own first-hand experiences with barriers and glass ceilings. BIPOC leaders will be tangible proof that it’s possible to move up, and they can give mentees the tools to help overcome challenges.
For mentors, serving in a mentorship program is just as beneficial for their own development and learning. For one thing, mentors must deliberately prepare to effectively mentor others. It requires that mentors develop their leadership skills, learn the latest thinking and approaches in their industry, and it instills a culture of learning and development for everyone involved to take their game to the next level.
For mentees, having a senior employee to go to helps them adapt to the workplace culture more quickly, making them more aware of expectations, policies, and workplace norms, while helping them feel more a part of the organization.
Mentoring and Networking on the Job
When it comes to networking, many people miss the importance of networking within an organization. It can take many months, even years, for new hires to get to know key co-workers. Through a mentoring program, a mentee can gain access to important career contacts sooner. This is especially true in large organizations and even more so now in our remote work arrangements.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, young employees with mentors report 81 percent higher job satisfaction, experience lower turnover rates, and increased career mobility. In other words, organizations with mentoring programs show their commitment to their employees’ career development and create higher workplace satisfaction.
Mentoring contributes to building a more positive workplace culture, establishing better connections between employees, and a builds the reputation of an organization that values and invests in employee development.
A study by the University of Guelph showed that mentorship programs can help new employees become more productive, more quickly. “Companies benefit from boosting their employees’ well-being. Helping new hires adjust at the start empowers them to achieve their potential later on,” said Dr. Jamie Gruman about his findings. “Simply throwing newcomers into a job and letting them fend for themselves results in their being socialized by default rather than design.” That’s a roundabout way of saying new employees can quickly pick up bad habits and attitudes from their coworkers just as easily as good ones.
Personal engagement at work – bringing one’s full self to the job – is considered key to a new employee’s commitment and performance. That, in turn, affects a company’s productivity and competitiveness.
Young BIPOC employees may feel the need to cover at work in order to “fit in” rather than make waves of being “the only” in their workplace. A guide who will encourage them to be the best version of themselves and to hit the ground running is good for everyone involved, for mentors, mentees, your organization, and society at large.
Are you ready to go beyond writing a Diversity Statement or setting up a Diversity and Inclusion Committee? Are you an employee who is seeking a more inclusive workplace? Dr. Helen’s training in Work and Business Psychology (officially known as Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology) means she is a genuine expert in evaluating work-related behaviours. She uses those skills to help hiring managers tell the difference between people who say the right things during interviews and people who actually deliver on the job. Plus, she knows how to do it inclusively.
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services Inc. – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.™